I must admit that when it comes to naming my tracking events and dimensions in my analytics implementation, I am a complete perfectionist – annoyingly so. I can’t bear scrappy naming conventions or unclear labels. This has come from years of  trying to navigate badly implemented analytics tools, and trying to figure out what tracks what.

Bad naming conventions is a common issue in analytics implementations. People come and go from companies and new tracking gets implemented by different people. What makes sense in one person’s head is completely illogical in another person’s head.

I have found a formula that works for me personally and the product teams I have worked with, so I wanted to share it. Actually, this is less about the specific naming conventions that I use and more about promoting law and order, and rules to guide ALL future tags.

1. Categorise your events and add them to your event names

Some analytics tools allow you to categorise your events (like Amplitude), but for those that don’t, you just have one field to name your event. I really like to add a category at the beginning of the event name, so that they are all grouped together and easy to find when looking to add a metric to a piece of analysis or a report. It also adds context to a user if they aren’t very familiar with the implementation.

For example:

search – {event name}
video –  {event name}
onboarding – {event name}
sign in – {event name}

2. Use past tense when tracking an action

The action has already happened, so it makes sense to label it as having already happened. Again, its clear for any one who is less familiar with the implementation. It leaves little doubt what the event is tracking.

For example:

{category} – result clicked
{category} –
card closed

3. Put the verb/action at the end of the event

I always put the action (or verb) at the end of the event. This adds consistency across all the names and help others to understand an event without having to try and cross check it with some documentation in the depths of a google doc.

For example

search – result clicked
onboarding – card closed

4. Make all names lower case

It’s a small point, but it keeps your names clean. I have tried camel case but there is room for error and depending on the tool you are using it can be difficult to update once the data has been processed.

Ultimately this exercise is about making your data as accessible and user friendly as possible. If you are striving to make your product teams more data driven, then its important to consider all potential hurdles including naming your events.

 

Growth Lead at Dailymotion, Richard has a passion for improving user experience and ROI through data and experimentation.